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Darrell Wayne Sander, 83, of Jackson passed away Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, at the Monticello House in Jackson.
He was born Dec. 2, 1940, in Gordonville to Edwin W. and Ida F. Wessel Sander. Darrell was baptized and confirmed at Zion Lutheran Church in Gordonville, also the church of his union in marriage to his high school sweetheart, Ruth Ann Heider on December 23, 1961. One daughter was born to their union, Lisa Darrellene Sander Craft.
Darrell was raised in Gordonville and attended Needmore Grade School, where his father served as county superintendent. He was a 1959 graduate of Jackson High School, where he lettered in football, basketball, and track his freshman through senior years, and was instrumental in establishing the “J Club” now know as J-Crew at Jackson High. Darrell was the captain of the football team his senior year and was a 1959 Silver Arrow Big Chief candidate. He and Ruth Ann “Ruthie” were awarded the honor of being the 1958 football king and queen.
After graduation, Darrell enlisted in the Army National Guard. He proudly served from June 14, 1959, until April 26, 1967, when he was honorably discharged.
Darrell was a truck driver for nearly 55 years, retiring in 2015 due to his declining health. He most recently drove for Lang Trucking and Tim Tuschhoff Trucking. He drove 15 years for Sunrise Express in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he received numerous driving awards, include the prestigious Viking Award for operating an 18-wheeler (tractor-trailer) all across the United States with no incidents or accidents for over a million miles. Other employment included Macke Trucking, Pete Meyer, McDonald Concrete, Crites and Sailer, R.B. Potashnick Construction, Delta Asphalt, K & R Trucking, Indiana, Ryder and Do it Best.
Darrell was a caring, affectionate man and enjoyed laughter and bringing smiles to everyone’s faces. He made friends everywhere he went, for he never met a stranger. His smile was contagious. Pastor Sam Roethemeyer said it best: “What a special friend Darrell was and what a presence of a gentleman and joy to be around.”
He was a member of Jackson Trail Riders where he proudly rode along side of his cowgirls, his wife, Ruthie, his mother-in-law, Arlyn, and in years to come his daughter, Lisa. Darrell enjoyed joining his cowgirls as they rode in parades, showed horses in local and afar competitions, and rides to country church suppers.
Darrell’s love of “the game” came from playing football, basketball and baseball with his younger brothers, James and Don, and cousins down around Dutchtown. Way back then is when he was given the nickname “Big D”.
In the summer time he enjoyed hauling hay at Heider's Double A Acres (Ruthie's families homestead) where many Michael Anna Street neighbor kids helped him for some extra cash; along with JHS Indians football players too. Darrell felt that throwing those hay bales on and off the wagons, and then stacking the hay bales in the heat of an ole' hipped roofed barn was one of the best workouts of conditioning that a player could have for the upcoming JHS Indian football season.
Darrell was a Jackson Indian football fan through and through. His daughter, Lisa, often kidded him that his blood must bleed red and black — “JHS Football” colors, and just about everyone knew that “Red” was his favorite color.
He and Ruth Ann had been members of St. John’s United Church of Christ since the early 1980s and were former members of Zion Lutheran Church in Gordonville and St. Paul Lutheran Church in Jackson.
Loving survivors include his daughter, Lisa (Jeff) Craft of Jackson; a granddaughter, Alisha (Ben) McMillan of Fletcher, North Carolina; a great-granddaughter, Lynnlee Grace McMillian; a brother and two sisters-in-law; James K. “Jim” (Karen) Sander of Jackson and Sandy (the late Don) Sander of Sikeston; a niece, Michelle (Jeremy) Hohler of Jackson; and two nephews, Dane (MacKenzie) Sander of Perryville and Garrett Sander of St. Louis.
Also surviving are three great-nieces, three great-nephews, one stepniece, two stepnephews and several great-stepnieces and -nephews.
Darrell was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Ruth Ann “Ruthie” Sander; parents, Edwin and Ida Wessel Sander; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Albert and Arlyn Hoffman Heider; brother, Don Wesley Sander; infant sister and three infant nieces.
Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. until service time Saturday, Jan. 20, at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Fruitland.
Darrell’s AKA “Big D” celebration of life will follow at noon Saturday, Jan. 20, at the church, with Dr. Rodney Pensel and Pastor Sam Roethemeyer officiating. A graveside service, with full military honors, will follow in the church cemetery.
As Darrell requested, he wanted to extend his personal gratitude to the following caring and loyal individuals: his sister-in-law, Karen Sander; friends, Lety Patterson, Beverly Tuchhoff and Susan Loennecke; compassionate caregivers, Ann Wilson, Brittany Simmons and Rick Isaac; along with the entire staff at the Monticello House in Jackson and his JHS Indians football buddies, Elizabeth “Liz” Berthold, and her son, Landon, who faithfully took Darrell to the 2023 JHS Indians home football games.
Serving as pallbearers will be his nephews, Dane and Garrett Sander; cousin, Mark Wessell; friends, Steve Pyles, Brian Schoenebeck and Doug Ludwig.
Serving as honorary pallbearers will be Karen Sander, Elizabeth “Liz” Berthold, Landon Berthold, Letty Patterson, Beverly Tucshhoff, Susan Loennecke, Joe Nussbaum, Dewey Nussbaum, Randy Ludwig, Roger Lang and Eddie White.
In lieu of flowers, Darrell's family request memorials may take the form of contributions to Jackson R-2 Schools, c/o J-Crew, 614 E. Adams St., Jackson, MO 63755 or St. John’s United Church of Christ Cemetery Fund, 795 State Highway FF, Jackson, MO 63755.
To view the live air of Darrell’s funeral service visit: https://www.facebook.com/stjohnsfruitland/videos/806055268200505
To view the live air of Darrell’s graveside service visit: https://www.facebook.com/stjohnsfruitland/videos/316848810749144
The family entrusted McCombs Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Jackson with Darrell’s final arrangements.
To view Darrell's Memorial Video please click on the link below. That link is the green box.
Jackson R-2 Foundation ~ c/o J-Crew
614 East Adams Street, Jackson MO 63755
St. John's German Evangelical Church Cemetery (St. John's United Church of Christ)
795 State Hwy FF, Jackson MO 63755